More than two months have passed since Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the mid-Atlantic coast, and the region's fishing industries still face a long road to recovery. Total damage in the U.S. has been estimated at $63 billion, making Sandy the second costliest storm in U.S. history. The region's commercial and recreational fishermen—many of whom are concentrated along the coasts of New York and New Jersey—experienced some of the most severe impacts. In addition to suffering from millions of dollars in lost income during the months following the storm, many fishermen and business owners are also dealing with substantial costs of repairing vessels, gear, marinas, piers, processing plants, and other shoreside infrastructure that were damaged or destroyed. View photos of the damage on our Flickr page.
On November 16 the U.S. Department of Commerce declared a federal fisheries disaster for New York and New Jersey, opening the door for Congress to provide federal relief funds for recovery assistance. Although the $60 billion aid package passed by the Senate included $150 million for fisheries assistance, some members of the House voiced concerns that a portion of the "fisheries assistance" funds would go to Alaska, Mississippi, and New England for fisheries disasters unrelated to Hurricane Sandy. By the time a greatly reduced federal aid package of $9.1 billion was passed by the House on January 4, fishery disaster funds had been removed altogether. Congress is scheduled to vote on January 15 for a second relief aid bill totaling $51 million. It remains unclear how much aid New York and New Jersey fisheries will receive from a future aid package.
During the most recent Council meeting, more than 40 members of the public turned out in person or online to ask questions and discuss the storm's impacts with Council members and National Marine Fisheries Service representatives. The next day, the Council unanimously approved a resolution of support for the federal fisheries disaster declaration in the Mid-Atlantic region following Hurricane Sandy (full text below). The resolution was introduced by Chairman Rick Robins and was passed unanimously by the full Council.
Resolution of support for the federal fisheries disaster declaration in the Mid-Atlantic region following Hurricane Sandy
WHEREAS, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the Mid-Atlantic region on October 28, 2012, causing catastrophic damages and loss of life; and,
WHEREAS, the region’s fishing communities suffered overwhelming impacts, including ongoing business losses, lost industry infrastructure in the commercial and recreational fisheries, lost fishing vessels, and dislocation; and,
WHEREAS, the governors of New Jersey and New York requested federal fisheries disaster declarations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and
WHEREAS, The U.S. Secretary of Commerce declared a federal fisheries disaster for New Jersey and New York on November 16, 2012; now,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council expresses its full and unequivocal support for the Secretary’s federal fisheries disaster declaration and associated funding for the benefit of the affected fishing industries and communities of the Mid-Atlantic.
Approved by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, December 13, 2012
Note: We have posted on our Flickr page hope to continue adding photos throughout the recovery process. If you have have photos that you would like us to post, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the location of the photo, and any comments or description of the photo. . We quite a few photos of the storm damage that we have received from fishermen and Council members